With the 2015 NFL Draft quickly approaching, the distractions and noise surrounding...
Cleveland Browns Receiver Chandler Jones Could Steal the Show in Training Camp
When many fans and analysts looked at the Cleveland Browns undrafted free agent class, many receivers caught their eyes, including 6’3″ Vanderbilt standout Jonathan Krause, Florida State’s Kenny Shaw, Abilene Christian’s Taylor Gabriel and Ball State’s reliable Willie Snead. The one name that has garnered very little attention, yet has been making arguably the most waves in camp so far, belongs to that of San Jose State’s Chandler Jones.
Overlooked mainly due to his size, the 5’9″ and 183-pound wideout has taken Browns workouts by storm, displaying the speed and route-running necessary to excel in the NFL. With his size, many would expect him to immediately be worked into the slot role, but that is currently occupied by another undersized receiver, former Cincinnati Bengal Andrew Hawkins. Due to Hawkins, Jones has been tried out running deep routes in other formations, and he has begun to emerge as a legitimate deep threat in the mold of Kansas City’s Donnie Avery.
An NFL Combine snub, Jones was clocked at 4.34 at San Jose State’s Pro Day, despite many scouts implying he was only “quicker-than-fast,” showing that he has the wheels to make big plays down the sideline as well. With that 40 time, Jones would have been placed third at the NFL Combine behind only Kent State’s Dri Archer (4.26) and Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks (4.33).
With the eventual loss of star wide receiver and consistent deep threat, Josh Gordon, the Browns have been looking towards someone to step up and make those longer receptions. Thus far, the name to watch has been former Washington Redskins receiver, Anthony Armstrong. At 31-years old, Armstrong has shown that he has the speed still to stretch the field and open up Kyle Shanahan’s smash mouth running attack, while still being able to make plays down the field. It is expected that Armstrong will open up the season in that role, but if Jones continues to flash like he has during camps, the receiving core situation could get very interesting when Training Camp opens.
Despite Jones’ size, he is no stranger to being in a legitimate go-to receiver role on the field. At San Jose State, Jones emerged as the No.1 target for quarterback David Fales, racking up 79 receptions for 1,356 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Over the course of his career with the Spartans, Jones hauled in 248 passes for 3,087 yards, while adding 29 scores through the air. In 10 games over his career, Jones went for 100-plus receiving yards, courtesy of Fales. He also obtained the football version of a hat-trick for a wide receiver, scoring touchdowns via receiving, rushing and fumble recovery in the same game—only the second time in NCAA history the feat was accomplished.
That reliability and versatility made him a favorite of Fales almost immediately, as he displayed soft hands and precise routes throughout the course of his career, consistent with his NFL bloodlines. Offspring of former NFL players have routinely shown that the apples do not fall far from the tree, and as the son of 1983 NFL draft selection Mike Jones who played six seasons in the league, it seems that Chandler is no different.
Only time will tell if Jones can make his mark on the NFL when the regular season comes around, but with the Browns boasting an aging receiving core, do not be surprised if an infusion of young talent like Jones is exactly what Shanahan is looking for on opening day.
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